Speed camera proposal hits red light at Statehouse

A traffic camera seen at an intersection in Chicago (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Just one week after striking a compromise to allow radar based speed cameras to be installed on Indiana roads, lawmakers behind the proposal say it won’t move forward this legislative session.

Rep. Edmund Soliday (R-Valparaiso) pulled the bill from consideration just minutes before what would have been its final third reading vote in the House on Wednesday.

“It’s done for this year,” Soliday told I-Team 8 as the House adjourned for the day. “The votes were not there. When the far right and far left agree on something, it’s pretty hard to get anything done.”

Under the proposal, drivers caught on video speeding through a construction zone or school zone, or illegally passing a school bus could have been subjected to a hefty fine in the mail.

Debate over the measure followed an I-Team 8 investigation last week that highlighted concerns surrounding the camera controversy, including allegations that the program was simply designed to make the state money.

Soliday said that wasn’t the bill’s goal, and maintained Wednesday that speed cameras were designed to improve safety.

“If we have laws in a nation of laws, we should obey those laws,” he said following Wednesday’s session. “There were really two (reasons behind dissent on the proposal). One is lack of understanding of the statistics and lack of understanding of the bill. The second thing is these ideological views of freedom.”

During hearings on the proposal last week, some called it a dangerous precedent for government.

“It’s a slippery slope,” said Rep. Mike Speedy (R-Indianapolis) during last week’s Roads and Transportation Committee hearing. “Once it starts in the construction work zones, that becomes a rationale to expand it and expand it, and then, where does it stop?”

Soliday said Wednesday that it’s unlikely he’d introduce the proposal as an amendment to another bill. But, he stopped short of giving up on the idea.

“I think we made progress,” he said. “I think we’re identifying the issue more clearly. But, when it’s this late in the game, I probably held the bill too long. You don’t have a lot of time to explain. You don’t have a lot of time to sit down with individuals. And, there are too many things at play that this just was not at the top of the list.”

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